The WFD requires that all identified waterbodies are assigned a status to determine if a waterbody has achieved its environmental objective. In Ireland, just under 60% are assigned status based on monitoring. This week the new status of these water bodies has been published on catchments.ie and made available on EPA Water Maps.
Assigning status to unmonitored waterbodies
As it is not logistically feasible to monitor all waterbodies so a statistical model can be used whereby waterbodies with similar characteristics and catchment pressures are grouped together and data is interpolated to assign status. This is allowed by the Directive if enough waterbodies within a group are monitored to provide an accurate assessment of the group as a whole.
Supplementary information such as expert judgement, additional nutrient loads, status directly up stream or downstream and land use information can also be used for surface water body categories (rivers, lakes estuaries and coastal waters).
Applying this combined approaches results in 98% of waterbodies being assigned a status (73% based on monitoring and 17% waterbody grouping and 7% expert judgement). Assigning status to these waterbodies has important implications for regulatory authorities as proposed developments can now be assessed against credible status data for all waterbodies.
More information is available at:
Maps are available at: